Concerning new research shows how people without symptoms spread coronavirus (COVID-19)

CDC estimates 40% of spread happens before patients have symptoms

New research into the coronavirus (COVID-19) is revealing some troubling trends related to how asymptomatic people are spreading the virus to others.

DETROIT – New research into the coronavirus (COVID-19) is revealing some troubling trends related to how asymptomatic people are spreading the virus to others.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published new information to help epidemiologists predict how COVID-19 might spread either as part of the ongoing outbreak or a second wave.

There were some very concerning figures. Based on the CDC’s current best data, it’s estimated 40% of the spread happens before a person develops symptoms.

Best available data suggests roughly 35% of infected people don’t have nay symptoms but can still spread the virus.

The result of an outbreak investigation from the CDC’s publication Emerging Infections Diseases is an important warning about how COVID-19 can spread during large gatherings.

It outlines a two-hour wedding event with about 360 guests that was held in Jordan in mid-March. At the time, Jordan only had one confirmed coronavirus cases.

READ: Here are the 8 steps Michigan barber shops, salons, spas say they can take to safely reopen

It’s believed the bride’s father, who had just returned from Spain, where there was ongoing spread of COVID-19, was the one who unknowingly introduced the virus.

As is custom at weddings, the bride’s father greeted the guests in a receiving line and had close contact with people during the celebration.

Once he was identified as a positive contact, tracers found 350 of the guests and tested them for COVID-19. A total of 76 were positive -- 40 with symptoms at the time of testing and 36 asymptomatic. One guest had died, officials said.

Another paper, also from Emerging Infections Diseases, outlined another element of spread: the percentage of people who get infected by a single individual.

Researchers followed 38 asymptomatic people who had tested positive and 369 of their close contacts. They found 16% of household contacts became infected, and among social contacts, there was a higher rate of spread to people over the age of 65, compared to younger contacts.

All of this information highlights the danger of large gatherings and the importance of following precautions.

The coronavirus is still spreading, and it only takes one careless spark to reignite a rise in cases.

About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.